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Saturday NHL Playoff Betting Predictions
Better NHL Playoff Betting Insight
By Bob Duff
With three games on tap Saturday, it's getting down to the wire in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Who survives? Who departs? We've got all the answers right here, based on the odds being offered by BetOnline.ag:
The Rangers ended their six-game home-ice playoff losing streak with a Game 4 win over the Canadiens at Madison Square Garden. Can they win two in a row there and end Montreal's season?
Some dormant players came to life in New York's Game 5 victory. Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime on a feed from Chris Kreider, as the Rangers overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to win. It was Zibanejad's first goal and Kreider's first point. But scoring remains an issue. The Rangers have no players in the top 29 in Stanley Cup scoring. New York is still without a power-play goal in the playoffs, as Montreal is 14-for-14 on the penalty kill.
The Canadiens also have their scoring issues. Captain Max Pacioretty has one assist in five games. Andrew Shaw, acquired for his playoff acumen, is pointless in the series. Paul Byron and Tomas Plekanec have each accounted for one goal.
Pick: The Canadiens (+104) and the under (5)
While the Canadiens were losing, a player they dealt at the trade deadline moved the Oilers into position to advance to the second round of postseason play for the first time since 2006.
David Desharnais scored at 18:15 of overtime after Oscar Klefbom tied the game with 2:46 remaining in regulation to help the Oilers complete a multi-goal comeback and grab a 3-2 series lead over the Sharks. Leon Draisaitl, who's been battling illness, set up the winner for his second point of the night and of the playoffs, a sign that he could be coming out of his funk.
Most significantly, Edmonton rebounded from a 7-0 spanking in Game 4 and a 3-1 disadvantage in Game 5 to push the Sharks to the brink, a sure sign that this young team is growing up quickly. The Oilers wisely stayed out of the penalty box and didn't allow San Jose's potent power play to destroy them the way it did in Game 4. Though limited to one assist in Game 5, Oilers captain Connor McDavid looked more like himself and was dangerous all night long.
The Sharks won't go easily. They are big and strong down the middle and Edmonton struggles to deal with San Jose's cycle game down low. And the San Jose defense is willing to take a hit to make a play. There's no panic with the puck in their own end.
Pick: The Sharks (-130) and the over (5)
The Wild staved off elimination in Game 4 but there are still disconcerting signs that don't point to a long-term future for the team. It took a shutout from Devan Dubnyk to get the win and through four games, only three Minnesota players - Zach Parise (two), Charlie Coyle (two) and Martin Hanzal (one) - have scored goals.
Goals are at a premium on both sides. Only six St. Louis players have scored in the series. Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko is without a goal in the series, which means either he's due to break out, or the Blues might be going back home for a Game 6.
Pick: The Wild (-177) and the under (5)
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